1. caters
    Offline

    caters Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2014
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    5

    Suspense?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by caters, Aug 16, 2016.

    I am rewriting my Pride Search story. I plan on having something suspenseful before Anapumua Moto meets Nala and starts a pride with her and her lioness friend.

    Now why suspense? Well, a lot of people say that suspense is a great thing to put in novels, even ones which otherwise aren't much thriller or mystery.

    Now the suspense I am not sure how I should put that in there. I was thinking maybe an elephant hunt or something.

    Now it has the same basic storyline(Duma running to Anapumua Moto in the hot afternoon, Leopard encounter(happens to be with 1 of Anapumua Moto's friends, Lioness encounter, Pride establishment, Sons establishing their pride, wild leopon birth, etc. and I know I am skipping quite a few events).

    But since I am rewriting it, the plot is going to be a little different.

    So I was thinking maybe something along these lines:

    Or something like that. This definitely has the disbelief that makes good fiction, good fiction.

    But does it have suspense or just disbelief?
     
  2. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,776
    Likes Received:
    2,403
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Suspense is built on either not knowing, or the series of gripping events that withhold just enough to end in a grand reveal. Suspense lies in the tension of a situation, and the fear that all could end badly once all is said and done. The bigger the risk the greater the reward of the tension is and the pay off as well.

    Disbelief is the suspension of realistic and rational for the fantastic and impossible (for lack of a better term, kinda like magic in fantasy as it is for all intelligible purposes improbable and impossible by all sense of logic and laws of science as it is not proveable and not testable).
     
  3. caters
    Offline

    caters Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2014
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    5
    So are you saying that the example quote I have there of what I might put at that part of the chapter where Anapumua Moto meets Nala and establishes a pride of his own has both suspense and disbelief(suspense at the beginning when Duma is fearful but Anapumua Moto is optimistic and disbelief when he successfully hunts an elephant on his own)?
     
  4. Sifunkle
    Offline

    Sifunkle Dis Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    570
    Not quite. Disbelief is the state of not believing in something. In the real world, I have disbelief in magic. Regarding fiction, people talk about suspension of disbelief, where the reader ignores what they disbelieve in the real world in order to enjoy a story. E.g. if I don't suspend my disbelief in magic, I won't have much fun reading Harry Potter because I'll constantly be thinking, 'This is stupid; magic doesn't exist.'

    The writer needs to convince the reader to suspend their disbelief, otherwise they won't engage with the story or think it's very good. I suppose the two main strategies would be 1) show a plausible reason why a disbelief would not apply in the fictional world (e.g. in Harry Potter, only some people are magical, and they painstakingly hide evidence of magic from muggles like you and me) and 2) create a world/plot/characters that the reader is interested in enough that they won't mind if the occasional silly thing pops up (e.g. people otherwise enjoy Lord of the Rings enough that the 'Why didn't they use the eagles to fly the Ring into Mordor?' thing doesn't stop them reading it).

    In your piece @caters , there were a few things I was happy to suspend disbelief over (e.g. animals talking), but IMO you failed with the main plot point. You set up the reasons why Anapumua Moto wanted to hunt an elephant and that he'd be doing it on his own. That got me thinking, 'Wow, in the real world I have disbelief that a single lion could take down an elephant - seeing how he manages it in this story will be interesting.' But then you didn't explain how he managed to kill the elephant (i.e. the first option described in my last paragraph). Given that I have no real reason to care about Anapumua Moto (at least from this excerpt), I was left with only my disbelief, with the result that I didn't enjoy the story much.

    I didn't think there was much suspense in the piece either. By having Duma and Bella talk about how dangerous elephants are (combined with my real-world knowledge) and opt out of joining in, you suggested that there might be suspense, but then... the potentially suspenseful event (Anapumua Moto hunting the elephant) wasn't even described. For suspense, you want high stakes, no guarantee of success, the odds stacked against the character, plenty of signs that the outcome isn't going to be happy (even if it ultimately is), etc. I think the only part you touched on there is 'high stakes' (elephants are dangerous but beneficial to hunt, as discussed by the three characters). Maybe Duma and Bella should doubt that Moto can do it and try to discourage him from trying (sort of implied, but show it more clearly). Maybe once the hunt starts, Moto realises he's bit off more than he can chew and shouldn't have been so cocky. Maybe the elephant is thrashing Moto and it looks like he's going to die. Maybe Moto tries to escape but can't even manage that. Maybe he calls for help but there's none to be had. But then somehow, he manages to come out on top.

    And that 'somehow' is the most interesting and important part of the story - the climax of the plot. Which is why 'He didn't know how himself but he got a big elephant' destroys the story in a single sentence. You've hand-waved the whole point of the story. Even if Moto doesn't know how he did it, you need to know, and you need to tell me how so that I'll know too!
     
    theamorset, NiallRoach and jannert like this.

Share This Page